How do I learn properly in medical school? - What type of learner am I?

This blog post was written by our medical student Isabella Mina Raber.

Who doesn't know this situation: Your lecturer has already repeated the subject matter several times, you have also dealt with it intensively at home, but you still don't have a clear view. Hopefully, this situation can be solved with the help of this two-part blog series. "How do I learn properly in (medical) school?" is spared.

In this blog, we will look at the term "learning types" and what types there are. To find out how you can then apply this knowledge effectively in practice, check out the second part of this blog series and find out which learning method suits you best.

The term "learning types" describes the different ways of absorbing learning content. It is assumed that each person can absorb and process information differently via the individual channels of perception. Perception channels would be, among others, seeing, hearing or touching. It should be noted, however, that not only one learning type, but several learning types can apply to a person and that the combination of these achieves the best result.

The different learning types introduced:

The visual learning type learns best by seeing. They grasp content most quickly through visual representations or diagrams. Therefore, learning with video materials or creating mind maps, flow charts or sketches is particularly suitable for this type of learner. Writing in different colours is also said to have a positive effect, because passages of text that are written in colour are automatically highlighted and are thus more easily memorised.

The auditory learning type learns best by listening. Reading texts aloud or active listening are suitable for this type of learner. As an auditory learner, you should make sure that you are present during lectures and that you listen carefully to the lecturer. Recording audio instead of taking notes can also improve your learning. You can easily do this with the dictation function of your smartphone and listen to the lecture again at any time.

The motor type of learner learns best by performing actions or processes that he has to comprehend. It can be helpful for him to use supporting gestures while learning as well as to take notes in a lecture, as the hand movement activates motor skills and boosts the processing of information. As a motor type of learner, you should also make sure to keep stubborn memorisation to a minimum and instead try to link information together. For the motor type of learner, it can also be helpful to move around while learning, e.g. to walk around the room.

The communicative learner learns best by verbally exchanging information with other people. It clearly helps to organise study groups and to exchange and test each other. If you don't have a study group, you can also learn by talking to yourself. One method that can help you is to write down short questions about the subject matter. For example, you can choose a lecture and write down a question about the content of each slide. Afterwards, you answer the questions aloud and check how much you were able to recall from your memory and how far your understanding went.

As mentioned earlier, a mix of learning types often produces the best results. Check out the second part of the blog series to find out which learning methods you have had the best experience with. Good luck and happy learning!